contingency formula of law explicitly goes beyond internal consistency.
It is located at the boundary between the law and its external
environment and means both the historical variability of justice and its
dependence on this environment. Invoking justice – and this is
the core of the contingency formula – makes explicit the
dependence of law on its ecologies, on its social, human and natural
Human rights violations by ‘private’ transnational actors
lose by taking this detour? What happens if we no longer see questions
about fundamental rights as a problem of balancing the rights of
concrete actors, but rather as an ‘ecological’ problem: as
an injury that an expansive social system does to its social, human and
natural ecologies? Considering our general question, what do we gain
from this perspective for understanding and analysing the horizontal
have studied a sufficient
amount of political economy to realize that capitalism is an irredeemably flawed
economic system containing insurmountable contradictions; it is because as
a result of these systemic flaws and contradictions, capital destroys lives. No
matter how diligent we might be in our research and fact-checking, no matter how well we might chart the (inevitable) falling trajectory of profit rates, if
we do not feel viscerally connected to the lives and interests of other people
(as well as to the fragile ecology that supports our very existence as a species
not only forestalls the possible idolatry of subjectless objects (a risk
not heeded in the political ecology of Jane Bennett, or in the ontological realism of Levi Bryant); it also dethrones the atomized, constitutive, bourgeois subject. This dialectic marks out early critical theory as being particularly attuned
to the materiality, contested historicity, and utopian possibility sedimented in
the object world, especially as it is given unique form and expression through
aesthetics. Such awareness is replete with political implications and intent. It
and trends. The concerns that now come under the rubric of critical theory continue to traverse disciplinary boundaries: social theory, cultural studies, psychoanalysis, literary theory, queer theory, feminism, politics, philosophy, pedagogy,
ecology, geography, and so it goes on. Critical theory is a broad church indeed.
Thinking through feeling
But such varied threads are nevertheless loosely drawn together by their
adjectival counterpart –namely, their critical standpoint in relation to the given
state of affairs. All critical theories (in the plural
On the sociological paradoxes of weak dialectical formalism and embedded
book for a more detailed elaboration of this argument.
15 Whilst Luhmann insists on self-
referential closure, Philippopoulos-
and others intimate that systems communicate with one another –even if such
communication takes the form of collisions. Habermas, by contrast, distinguishes
between systemic and lifeworld dimensions of social reproduction and evolution. See Luhmann, Soziale Systeme, chapters 11–12; Andreas Philippopoulos-
Mihalopoulos, ‘Looking for the Space between Law and Ecology’, in Andreas
Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos (ed.), Law and
Children's Citizenship: Negotiating Structure, Shaping Meanings .”
International Journal of Children's Rights 22 : 21–42 .
Bauböck , Rainer . 2015 .
“ From Moral Intuition to Political Change: On
Joseph Carens’ Theory of Social Membership and Open
Borders .” Political Theory 43 : 393–401 .
Bennett , Jane .
2009 . Vibrant Matter: A
Political Ecology of Things
rights, it would be ‘unbearable
if the law were left to the arbitrariness of regional
politics’. 7 Similarly, in the field of ecology, there are tendencies
towards legal globalisation in relative insulation from state
institutions. And even in the world of sports, people are discussing the
emergence of a lex sportiva internationalis . 8
Thus, we see several kinds of global legal order that are
Democratic state, capitalist society, or dysfunctional
published in German as Erkenntnis und Interesse (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp,
1968), chapters 3 and 7.
7 Rudenstine, Age of Deference, chapters 11–12.
8 Gunther Teubner, ‘A Constitutional Moment? The Logics of Hitting Bottom’, in
Poul F. Kjaer, Gunther Teubner, and Alberto Febbrajo (eds), The Financial Crisis in
Constitutional Perspective: The Dark Side of Functional Differentiation (Oxford: Hart,
2011), pp. 3–42, also available in Teubner, Critical Theory and Legal Autopoiesis.
9 See Philippopoulos-
Mihalopoulos, ‘Looking for the Space between Law and
Looming constitutional conflicts between the de-centralist logic of
functional diff erentiation and the bio-political steering of austerity and
Ecology: New Environmental Foundations (London:
Routledge, 2012), especially chapters 1, 2, and 5.
42 The present book pursues this objective and as such further elaborates attempts
to sketch the path of research first outlined in Schecter, Critique of Instrumental
Reason and Critical Theory in the Twenty-First Century.
43 Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello make this clear in Le nouvel esprit du capitalisme
(Paris: Gallimard, 1999), available in English as The New Spirit of Capitalism, trans.
Gregory Elliott (London: Verso, 2005). Also see Pierre Dardot and